Aiming High With Open Houses

February 2nd, 2015

When selling a house, getting exposure through open houses is key to receiving the maximum amount of money for the property, yet some agents complete just the bare minimum. Placing a few signs out on the day of the event is simply not enough. Because of this, I choose to use the “Level-Seven Open House” model, created by Gary Keller and described in his book SHIFT, to achieve the best results possible.

Open House

Below is an excerpt from SHIFT. According to Gary, a level-seven open house includes:

1. Put up an open house sign in the yard the day of the event.

2. Putting up open house rider(s) several days in advance. Add balloons the morning of the event.

3. Putting up directional signs early the morning of the event.

4. Advertising the event.

5. Going door-knocking midweek for two days and pass out fliers to neighbors. Go at least two days prior to the open house.

6. The morning of the open house, calling to remind the seller and potential visitors.

7. Arranging with other agents in your office to promote each other’s open houses. especially in the same price range and neighborhood.


There are plenty more reasons why you should use a REALTOR® who uses this approach, and I am happy to tell you why I’m the agent to do it for you. For any of your real estate needs, reach out to me, your California Real Estate Lady, by calling (858) 848-7555 or e-mailing!

Staging: Is It Worth It?

January 22nd, 2015

As an agent, I know that staged homes photograph better, get more showings, sell faster, and for more money. Staging varies from just cleaning and de-cluttering to fully furnishing a home from the ground up. Judy Burzell is a staging specialist who was one of the first to develop the quick and easy “Done in a Day” staging process.

Judy Burzell

Judy offers “several new services that will have your home ready to sell in just hours – at a price everyone can afford.” There are many different ways to stage a house, for example, Judy’s “Mini-Makever” is “a 4-hour “Mini” staging that will completely transform the look of your home, using our staff and your furnishings…” plus more. With the resources available, the end result achieved by using a professional’s tips and assets far exceeds the cost that could potentially be incurred cleaning up the house on your own. I spoke to Judy, and staging a house varies, from “decluttering, organizing, and just knowing what to do with things… Our new-school approach gets the job done at a more cost effective pice in the quickest possible way.” Every house is unique, so there is no specific set of rules for how to properly prepare a house, which is precisely why it is important to include as many professionals in the sale of many homeowner’s largest investments to maximize potential for profit.

The pictures below of one of my past listings show just how powerful getting your house professionally staged can be. What do you think?

6294 Via Regla

There are many other reasons why getting your house staged is beneficial in the moving process. I, as your agent, will be happy to share those with you, and will ensure you are put in touch with top notch contacts, such as Judy, to ensure your house sells for the best price as timely as possible!

To discuss staging with either myself or Judy Burzell, or for any of your real estate needs, contact me, your California Real Estate Lady, by calling (858) 848-7555 or e-mailing!

My New Listing: 724 Granada Dr., Vista, 92083!

January 19th, 2015

Looking for a fabulous, move-in-ready single level home in the convenient area of Vista? This 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom property has all the amenities a family could ask for. With room for everything, including a pool, your RV/boat/trailer, to creating a park in the back yard, the house provides limitless possibilities. Melinda New Listing
The bedrooms are all large and you’ll love the closets and storage space. The west facing patio spans the whole back of the house and has a nice structure for shade. The raised dining room and entry provide a lovely start into the great room just made for fun. Even the garage has room for 2 cars, plus a raised area for a washer/dryer.

The property is located at 724 Granada Dr. in Vista, California, 92083 and readers can view more details and pictures in the video below (click here for more details!). For any of your real estate needs, contact me, your San Diego expert, by calling (858) 848-7555 or e-mailing!

Selling With An Agent Vs. Selling Your Home Yourself

January 7th, 2015

Have you ever considered selling your home on your own? Although it may seem like a way to save a little bit of extra money, the reality of it is, agents usually save their clients a significant amount amount of money compared to “for sale by owners,” or FSBO’s.


According to the National Association of REALTORS:

-the average FSBO sells for 19% less than the average home sold by a REALTOR®
-the average FBSO takes 19 days longer to sell than average homes sold by a REALTOR
-91% of homes are sold by agents

There are many other reasons why using an agent gives you an advantage in the market. With accurate pricing, professional negotiating and marketing, not to mention professional staging, photography, and cleaning, the seller has resources at the their fingertips that they otherwise would have to research and pay out of pocket for. Furthermore, understanding and properly completing all of the required paperwork is the most difficult task FSBO’s encounter, yet it is the easiest task for REALTORS.

For example, according to the San Diego Association of REALTORS, last month’s median detached home price in Encinitas was $1.1 million. The table below demonstrates how selling your home yourself could actually cost you money.

Using an agent vs. FSBO (Encinitas)

Using an agent vs. FSBO (Encinitas)

In addition, according to the National Association of REALTORS, sellers using an agent made an average of $41,000 more than FSBO’s nationwide in 2013.

Although I have no doubt your are all more than capable of selling your own home, statistics show using a professional real estate agent will garner you a much higher profit, allowing you to pay a commission while still putting more money in your pocket.

Want to learn more? Check out my video below.

There are plenty of reasons why you should use a REALTOR rather than selling your home yourself, and I’m excited to show you why I’m the agent to do it. Remember, for any of your real estate needs, reach out to me, your San Diego expert, by calling (858) 848-7555 or e-mailing!

Is Vista, California The New Capital For Craft Beers?

December 31st, 2014

I am so excited to announce my new listing in Vista, California, one of San Diego’s many areas emerging as one of the most desirable to live in… especially if you’re into craft beers and breweries. This particular property is located at 724 Granada Dr. (click here for more details!), close to everything Vista has to offer. Check out the article from the Atlantic City Lab about the influential culture below, and remember, for any of your real estate needs, reach out to me, the California Real Estate Lady, by calling (858) 848-7555 or e-mailing!

How Vista, California, Became the Capital of Craft Beer

In just the past few years, a suburb of San Diego has become a national destination for beer brewers and connoisseurs.

Eilene Zimmerman
10:15 AM ET

Iron Fist is one of a dozen craft breweries that have clustered in Vista, California. (John Holzer/Flickr)

Iron Fist is one of a dozen craft breweries that have clustered in Vista, California. (John Holzer/Flickr)

It’s a Sunday afternoon on the sleepy main street of Vista, California, in northern San Diego County, but the cavernous home of the Mother Earth Brew Company is hopping. And hoppy.

The craft-beer tasting room, with its 19 varieties of Mother Earth on tap, is packed. People sip from small glasses of beers in varying shades of amber, with names like Sin Tax, Hop Diggity, and the ever popular Cali Creamin’ (a vanilla cream ale). Just a few miles east, at its manufacturing facility, Mother Earth has another tasting room.

The brewery’s production has grown about 100 percent year over year since it opened in 2010; from 2013 to 2014, it quintupled, says Kevin Hopkins, the chief branding officer.

Craft beer—produced in small, artisanal batches by independent brewers—is a $5.5 billion market in California. The state produces more craft beer and has 480 craft breweries, more than any other, according to the California Craft Brewers Association. Nationwide, beer sales in 2013 were actually down about 2 percent, but sales of craft beer were up 17.2 percent.

Nearly 100 of California’s craft breweries are in San Diego County. Of the cities within the county, the one that’s seen the most growth in brewing is Vista: 19 square miles, 96,000 residents, and as of today, 12 breweries, with more in the works.

Green Flash Brewing Company was the first to open in Vista, in 2002 (it moved in 2011 and was quickly replaced by Latitude 33). There wasn’t much else until Iron Fist and Mother Earth opened in 2010, and it’s been a wave of expansion ever since.

Craft beer has had a profound economic impact on Vista: According to a 2014 report, the industry provides $272 million in annual revenue and supports 850 jobs in North County, an area that includes Vista. That’s a bigger impact than that of Comic-Con International, the largest annual convention in San Diego, about 40 miles to the south.

Kevin Ham, Vista’s economic development director, says those beer dollars circulate through the local economy and support the creation of additional, indirect jobs and more business activity, like new restaurants and boutiques.

John Webster and Claudia Falk, two of the owners of Aztec Brewing Company (Eilene Zimmerman)

John Webster and Claudia Falk, two of the owners of Aztec Brewing Company (Eilene Zimmerman)

“It’s helped to revitalize the downtown,” Ham says. “We used to have to reach out to businesses to get them to locate here. Now they are coming to us. There’s the Apothecary Off Main, new retail stores, an urban winery, a record store. And there are more people downtown now with a disposable income.”

Many Vista breweries don’t serve their own food but allow food trucks and nearby restaurants to sell and deliver food to their patrons. Ham says many downtown restaurants report a threefold increase in business since the proliferation of brewpubs there.

Craft-beer tourism is also growing, says Ham. Visitors come to San Diego not just for sun and surf, but to see Vista’s breweries, many of which are located in the sprawling Vista Business Park—a 14 million-square-foot business park with 800-plus companies that employ about 23,000 people. That’s a lot of happy hour patrons.

“We’ve got the lowest vacancy rate in the business park we’ve ever had—5.7 percent,” says Ham. “The breweries create an environment where people want to be.”

Vista has become a magnet for craft breweries because it made an effort early on to understand the industry’s specific needs, like manufacturing space that usually requires roll-up doors and access to water and gas. City ordinances changed to allow tasting rooms in industrial areas.

Vista’s location is another plus. It’s central to San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange counties, and sits right off Highway 78, now known as the “Hops Highway.” The 78 runs from the coastal town of Oceanside to the mountain town of Julian and connects a host of well-known breweries along the way…

Readers can read more or find the original article here, and reach out to me by calling (858) 848-7555 or e-mailing, your real estate expert, for any of your San Diego housing needs!


Don’t Count Our Chargers Out Just Yet!

December 2nd, 2014

With a great opening to the season overshadowed by a series of losses in a recent rough patch, our San Diego Chargers haven’t given up on us just yet! Despite their tough remaining schedule, after taking down the St. Louis Rams and Baltimore Ravens this past week, our persistent Chargers’ odds to make the playoffs are surprisingly high.

Chargers Schedule

Check out the article from the Union Tribune below and remember, for any of your real estate needs, reach out to me, your San Diego expert, by calling (858) 848-7555 or e-mailing!

Playoff possibilities remain plentiful

By Kevin Acee
11:23 a.m.Dec. 1, 2014

San Diego Chargers vs. Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) scores on this 14 yard run play in the 4th quarter and is congratulated by his teammates.

With four weeks to play and 12 of the AFC’s 16 teams still very much alive in the playoff race, it is impossible to succinctly clarify anyone’s chances.

About all we can say is that the Chargers helped themselves immensely by beating the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. The Chargers not only improved their overall record to 8-4 but boosted their conference record to 6-3.

By winning Sunday, moving into the fifth (of six) AFC playoff positions, a game ahead of all the other contenders for the two wild card spots, the Chargers set themselves up to have a good shot to get in the playoffs at 10-6.

Mathematically, according to, the Chargers would have an 89.2 percent chance of making the playoffs if they can split their final four games.

The Chargers are assured of a playoff spot if they win at least three of their remaining games, a daunting task considering all of their final four opponents have a winning record and are a combined 32-16.

San Diego Chargers vs. Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

San Diego Chargers vs. Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

But remember how such probabilities worked out last year. With four games remaining in 2013, the Chargers’ chances of making the postseason were calculated at 3.9 percent. They made the playoffs.

This month, the Chargers need to win the right two games, and they have to hope to not finish in a tie with Miami, which beat the Chargers on Nov. 1. In most scenarios, the Chargers need to finish a game ahead of Miami.

The Chargers can finish tied with Miami at 10-6 and still get in as long as Houston or Pittsburgh is not also 10-6 or Kansas City did not get to 10-6 by beating the Chargers in the season finale. Houston would hold an edge based on conference record if it were to win out, and Kansas City would finish ahead of the Chargers because it would have swept their two games. Depending on which three games the Steelers won to get to 10-6, Pittsburgh could edge the Chargers based on conference record.

But to understand just how impossible it is to predict what will happen at this point, consider that it is possible for as many as 11 AFC teams to finish with at least 10 victories.

The only real knowledge Chargers fans can go forward with is that they should root for opponents of the Dolphins, Steelers, Chiefs and Texans.

The current AFC playoff contenders (with remaining opponents):

New England 9-3 (@SD, Mia, @NYJ, Buf)
Denver 9-3 (Buf, @SD, @Cin, Oak)
Cincinnati 8-3-1 (Pit, @Cle, Den, @Pit)
Indianapolis 8-4 (@Cle, Hou, @Dal, @Ten)
CHARGERS 8-4 (NE, Den, @SF, @KC)
Kansas City 7-5 (@Ari, Oak, @Pit, SD)
Buffalo 7-5 (@Den, GB, @Oak, @NE)
Baltimore 7-5 (@Mia, Jac, @Hou, Cle)
Pittsburgh 7-5 (@Cin, @Atl, KC, Cin)
Cleveland 7-5 (Ind, Cin, @Car, @Bal)
Miami 7-5 (Bal, @NE, Min, NYJ)
Houston 6-6 (@Jac, @Ind, Bal, Jac)

© Copyright 2014 The San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC. An MLIM LLC Company. All rights reserved.

Readers can find the original article here, and feel free to reach out by calling (858) 848-7555 or e-mailing!

What everyone should know about buying a home.

May 27th, 2014

Shopping for a home is fun.

Buying a home without doing these five things first…not so much.

buying a home-entrance

Enter and let the California Dream Begin

Follow these 5 tips before you buy a home, and I promise, buying a home will be more fun:

    1. Get your documents in order. Tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, account numbers.
    2. Know your credit situation. Higher is better.
    3. Make a list of your needs, wants, dreams. Consider your lifestyle, your commute, and your future needs. How long will you live in this home?
    4. Ask your friends, family, colleagues, social media contacts for their recommendations for a Realtor® and contact her. A good real estate agent will have a good list of lenders, credit repair people, and other resources for you.
    5. Get PREAPPROVED for a loan unless you are paying cash. Why? 1. Know how much you can afford, and 2. Be ready for when you find that dream home.

Note: Pre-qualified is not the same as pre-approved.

buying a home-sold

Don’t Get Locked Out

For a complimentary California home buyers guide email me.

What Happened in Cardiff CA Real Estate?

April 8th, 2014

Up! That’s what happened. While I sit here waiting for the March numbers to be published, I was reviewing Cardiff home sale numbers for February 2014. If there is anything I know about San Diego real estate it’s this: each zip code and neighborhood is a micro climate of real estate. So looking back to February: we sold more properties in Cardiff in January and February than we did in the same time frame in 2013. We also had more properties for sale at the end of February than we did at the same time in February 2013. Despite this fact, if no more homes came on the market, it would take less time to sell them all now than it would have a year ago. What does this mean for 92007 home owners? Improved demand + short inventor = greater sales prices. That said, now is not the time to get greedy. Although median prices for sold properties are WAY up, the selling price vs the original price the owner asked for, is down significantly as a percentage of sales price.

Moral of the story: homes are selling, inventory is still low, and that balance favors sellers (aka a Seller’s Market), however homes are not selling at ANY price. So price it right and get your maximum value.

Call me for more information or for your free, no obligation home valuation. I live in Cardiff and will do what it takes to get your home sold. After all Keller Williams sold over 6000 homes last year, wouldn’t you like to put that network to work for you?

Call 858-848-7555

or Visit CA Real Estate Lady to request a home value report.

Newly Listed Home in Oceanside CA

April 5th, 2014

3417 Willow Tree Ct Entry

Enter and let the California Dream Begin

Have you always dreamed of a home in a beach town on a quiet cul de sac where the kids can play, the dog wanders lazily in and out of your big back yard, you have your friends and family over for barbecues after surfing or playing all day at the beach? Or is your California dream to be able to retire in peace, park your RV where you want, and spend your days painting and gardening?

Whatever your California dream is, this home for sale in Oceanside CA can help make it come true. Listed at a truly affordable price of $350,000-$385,000 the home is move in ready, or flexible enough for your upgrades to make it just your style. The home has three good sized bedrooms, two full baths, a spacious kitchen, and open floor plan with cathedral ceilings in the living room with a fire on ice gas fireplace.

Take a moment, take a tour and see if you would like to start your future dream life now.

Is Your Pet Friendly San Diego Home for Sale?

January 5th, 2014

Pet friendly home for sale.

Pet friendly San Diego home for sale in Carmel Valley.

Pet Friendly Home, Pet Friendly Community, Pet Friendly Realtor®
Is your pet friendly San Diego home for sale? Are you thinking about selling your pet friendly San Diego home? Is your San Diego home is a pet friendly community? Yes? Then shout it from the rafters and be sure that your Realtor® does as well. According to the American Humane Society, 53% of California households include a pet. With our fantastic San Diego climate and active lifestyles, I would venture that the occurrence of pet ownership by San Diego homeowners is even higher. People love their animals, and they keep pet needs in mind when searching for homes for sale.

Start with your community: if it is particularly dog friendly, be sure your Real Estate Agent is including that in advertising. You can’t assume everyone knows that your community is pet friendly. During a recent conversation with a homebuyer, we were discussing homes for sale in North San Diego County and South Orange County Coastal communities from Laguna Hills to Oceanside. Not only did this cash buyer want a first floor enclosed yard or patio area for her dog, she RULED OUT certain cities based on their lack of dog friendliness! You’ve heard of walk-scores, or bike friendly cities, right? As a pet friendly San Diego real estate agent, I wonder if we should have dog friendly ratings for neighborhoods. For example, we have some great dog friendly beaches in San Diego and Del Mar, but are their any in South Orange County? The answer is not really (Corona del Mar). If, when you list your San Diego home for sale, your Realtor® doesn’t ask or seem to know about your pet friendly community, let her know. Are dogs allowed in city parks on or off leashes? Can you even walk your dog with a leash at the beach? In Encinitas, you can south of Cardiff’s “restaurant row.” What about infamous Black’s beach in La Jolla? Dogs are ok before 9 am and after 4 pm, on leash. Do local restaurants welcome well behaved dogs on their patios? Some communities, like Cardiff, are so dog friendly that even the local merchants (Seaside Market, Patagonia) leave a bowl of fresh water outside. Here in San Diego, there are too many dog friendly areas to even list.

It’s not just dogs that people keep in mind when house hunting. I am working with another home buyer in the Poway and Rancho Penasquitos area of San Diego. This buyer’s home search includes sunny windows and great spots for the family cat. I came back from previewing homes, and told him “I found a home you’ll love, and I can even show you where your cat will sit in the sun.” Pet owners also care if the local wildlife (coyotes) prowl or if the busy street is a risk. Someone with an outdoor cat will pay attention. It pays to have a pet friendly agent when you are selling and buying in San Diego, because they’ll pay attention to these things as well. Things like fenced in yards, dog runs, doggie doors, dog houses, and in the case of luxury homes, even built in dog and cat nooks. Pet friendly San Diego homes for sale are in demand!

So, if your home is perfect for pets, let it be known…BUT remember to keep your pets safe while your home is for sale. If you’ve chosen a pet friendly Real Estate Agent, they will understand your needs, I’ll even lend you a crate if you need it for your furry friend.

By Melinda DiPerna, Pet Friendly San Diego Realtor®